Staying In album cover
Staying In


Smalltown Supersound

Joachim Dyrdahl, b/k/a diskJokke, had a brief window in the spotlight and put out a succession of three increasingly minimalist dance albums on Norwegian dance powerhouse Smalltown Supersound before more or less going dormant after 2011’s ambient exploration of Indonesian Gamelan music Sagara. And while it’s usually kind of a bummer to note that a niche, relatively underrated artist peaked with their first album, it’s hard to feel bad about a peak as breezily friendly as Staying In. diskJokke’s debut shows off a versatility when it comes to the bottom-end side of his beats: his drums are slippery yet propulsive whether they’re evoking click-track austerity or the fullness of a percussive ensemble, while his basslines are nothing if not insistent, no matter whether they manifest as analog-fizzy Worrell-ian synth growls or more nuanced pseudo-organic low-end tones (with “I Was Go to Morocco and I Don’t See You” providing infectious examples of both working in tandem). But it’s the oddly textured melodies that stand out the most — his spaciness is a low-orbit kind, far out enough to feel alien but still more lighthearted than most of his cosmic peers. It all feels a bit warmly, endearingly silly, a tropical oasis in the midst of a deep wintry landscape: check out the complex piano figures of “Folk i farta” that give way to and banter with a succession of increasingly bombastic old-school sci-fi synth stings, the dizzying juxtaposition of downcast seething bassline and upbeat crystalline melody on “Større enn først antatt,” and the chirpy squirting blorp sounds that drizzle cartoon slime all over the electro-funk kicks and snares of “Cold Out.” Some high points hew a little closer to the more straightlaced disco of Lindstrøm & Prins Thomas — “Flott flyt” as the more jittery and uptempo magnification, “The Dinner That Never Happened” as his take on its midtempo, velvet-bass wheelhouse — but it’s clear from the get-go that diskJokke was already sure of his ability to do his own thing.

Nate Patrin

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